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N'Keal Harry, Patriots

Mini-Editorials

What to expect from N’Keal Harry in his return for the New England Patriots

New England Patriots rookie wide receiver N’Keal Harry was brought up to the team’s active roster and is available to make his first appearance against the Baltimore Ravens.

Harry is a first-round selection for the Patriots but went down with an ankle injury during a preseason game against the Detroit Lions. It was the first time since 1996 that the Patriots took a wide receiver in the first round of the NFL draft.

During his time at Arizona State, Harry caught 213 passes for 2,889 yards and 22 touchdowns. Harry also ran for 144 yards and three touchdowns.

New England recently released Pro Bowl wide receiver Josh Gordon, a move that probably corresponded with bring Harry back from injured reserve. New England’s new receiving group consists of Julian Edelman, Mohamed Sanu, Phillip Dorsett, and Harry.

With Gordon not in the mix and Sanu still getting used to the playbook, New England’s passing game is totally different from when the season first started. This could be a great opportunity for Harry to get involved and establish himself as a playmaking threat.

Quarterback Tom Brady spoke on Harry’s progression.

“He’s missed a lot of football, missed a lot of training camp, missed eight regular-season games. So he’s just got to try to work at it every day, and it’s going to be up to him to put the effort in,” Brady said.

Because Harry is coming off an injury and getting the first taste of NFL action in his career, expect head coach Bill Belichick and the Patriots coaching staff to slowly work him into the game.

Harry has the potential to provide a significant impact in the special teams game, as he was a significant threat during his time with the Sun Devils.

What Harry excels best at is making contested catches over any type of defensive back. At 6’4 and 225 pounds, Harry brings a major size advantage to a relatively small wide receiver core for the Patriots. Having Harry on the field opens up the playbook for the team, allowing Brady to take more shots knowing Harry has a good chance of coming down with them.

It will be a test for Harry to get going in his first game in the NFL, so New England can incorporate him with short passes at the line of scrimmage and let him make him with his legs — an underrated aspect of his game.

With the latter half of the season underway, New England getting Harry back will provide a big boost to the team’s offense once he gets in a groove.